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Echuca’s nightlife revival

Up and about: OPT bar and nightclub director Jacob Coad is looking forward to a full-on spring and summer.

It has been a dead couple years for the nightclub scene, but the OPT bar and nightclub in Hare St has come back to life.

OPT director Jacob Coad director said the club has had consistent trade throughout the year and had a great summer considering the COVID-19 measures in place.

“We found we’ve had a pretty strong trade for the summer just gone and expecting it to be a lot stronger in the upcoming summer now that we are consistently open,” Mr Coad said.

“Once we got the first indoor dance floor tick of approval from the government in mid November, it was fantastic to finally open.

“Business is a lot better now especially being open consistently.”

Mr Coad said OPT missed five weeks in January/February when indoor dance floors were closed once again due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was a bit weird when we re-opened, there was an all-in mood when we first opened in November,” he said.

“Then when we did re-open in February it was a bit different because a lot of nightclubs in Melbourne were just opening anyway.

“We stuck to the rules and stayed closed, as difficult as it was.“

Mr Coad purchased the club back in August, and has learnt plenty in such a short amount of time in charge.

He said the Victorian Government’s Voucher Scheme didn't do much to help the sector. For him, one of the biggest costs forcing businesses to close is the cost of insurance.

“How the government tries to counteract the cost of living pressures at the moment they should do the same with venues and their insurance,” he said.

“It’s not just nightclubs, but your late night pubs and risky things like go-kart tracks being affected.”

Mr Coad said everyone was looking forward to a full-on summer with no restrictions this year.

“We will get into it fully from spring onwards, it will be great,” he said.

“Winter isn’t great for hospitality but we appreciate all the support the town has given in the past.”

OPT is hosting an underage event which is a fundraiser for Xavier Edwards on Wednesday, July 6.

Xavier is a 13-year old who was recently diagnosed with quadriplegia after a bike accident in April.

Funds raised will go towards his rehabilitation.